I just returned home a few weeks ago from FL to complete my Cave diver course. I have been working at this for almost 2 yrs. This was my 3rd attempt at finishing Full Cave. Here is a synopsis of what I did. Thurs. Oct. 21- I left with another gent (Kevin) who was also going through to complete his Full Cave. We left after I got off work Thurs. The instructor (Larry) flew down & Kevin & I drove his truck & equipment down to him. We drove through the night & arrived at the cabin we were staying in About 6 am.
Fri. Oct. 22- Larry took another student, who was down to finish his intro course, to Peacock Springs work with him 1 on 1, while Kevin & I slept for a few hours. We were going to do some intro level diving for some practice, but Larry had accidentally picked up the keys to his truck & took them with him (he was riding with the other student). After a frantic & unsuccessful search, we called him & he then came back about an hour later & returned the keys (strike 1). We got to Peacock Springs & prepared to do an intro level dive. As entering the water, the strap buckle on Kevin’s fins broke apart (strike 2). He was able to put it back on, but it was not very stable. When he jumped in, his inflator hose started leaking badly where it was screwed onto his wing. The inflator hose had been removed & reinstalled for recall work. I tried a few times to re- screw it on with no success. I could not access it good because of it being trapped between Kevin & his tanks. (strike 3). At that point (3 strikes & you’re out) I called the dive. Another student (Wes) that was going Cavern- Full arrived & we went to a good dinner that night. Sat.
Oct 23- Kevin got his equipment issues straightened out. While Larry worked with his students, Kevin & I made an intro level dive into the cavern. Peacock I has 2 main tunnels, the Peanut tunnel & the Pot Hole tunnel. I ran a primary reel to the Peanut line (after a few minutes to find it ) & Kevin ran a primary to the Pot Hole line. After surfacing for a while, we recalculated 1/6th of our air supply that we could use to in on. We swam up the Peanut line about 700 ft. After refilling tanks, we then did a swim up the Pot Hole line about 600 ft. Found a fabulous Mexican restaurant to eat at.
Sun.Oct.24- Kevin & I did a couple more intro level dives while Larry Worked with his students. We went to Little River & then back to Peacock. The one student who came down to only finish his intro level training went home that night. That left Wes, Kevin & I to go through Full Cave together.
Mon. Oct 25- Full Cave Begins. We set up a complex Circuit by swimming up the Pot Hole Line. We set up the jump reel & were going to also do a traverse to Olsen Sink, but 1/3 (of air supply) was called, so we returned to the entrance. We Then went up the Peanut line & set the second jump in the crossover tunnel to complete the circuit, then returned. On the way back we did a 3 man lights out drill with me being an OOA diver, leading, & Kevin the donor. Wes just did touch contact with us. Very slow going, but we made it. On the 3rd dive, we did the traverse & swam the circuit, picking up the reels behind us.
Tues. Oct. 26- Went to Ginnie Springs. We were going to do a short circuit, but I got to fighting the current too much & we couldn’t do it on the air supply at my consumption rate. Second dive was a little better, as we went up the Hill 400 line until 3rd’s. Wes did a lost line drill on the way out.
Wed. Oct 27th- We did Ginnie Again. We went up the main line until 3rds. on the way back out I did another lights out air share drill with Wes, while Kevin watched. We did this from the Corn Flakes area, through the lips until the line termination. In that high flow, that was interesting,... to say the least. On the second dive we tried to get to the White Room, but once again, we reached 1/3 of our air supply before getting there. Kevin did a lost line drill & we also did a lost diver drill.
Thurs. Oct.28th- We were back at Peacock again. The first dive we swam 1900ft to the end of the Peanut Line, through a very tight restriction. Larry decided to let us try it. We wiped it out (sand, so it settled out very quickly). Swimming back out, Larry had us set up a jump at a very silty tunnel. Both the guys had a lot of trouble. Fortunately, I did well with it. On the way out, Larry went through a lot of drills & failures. I got to air share with him with multiple tank valve roll off’s of my secondary regulator. I had to keep reaching back to turn it back on. It was quite a busy dive. The second dive was our graduation dive. We went up the Pot Hole Line to a low, silty tunnel. The goal was to swim up it without stirring up silt. The tricky part there was also another class going in there, so it was Larry & our group of 3 & another instructor & his 2 students in that tunnel. Everyone did well. We came up & Larry told us we had passed. What a relief! 2 yrs of trying & working for this day!
Fri. Oct. 29- We did our first cave dives a Full Cave Divers. We did a circuit in Little River, up the Merry- go- round Tunnel & back through the Serpentine tunnel. It was a lot of fun, though I felt like a pin ball bouncing off the walls. Kevin & I sat out the second dive. Larry & Wes dove another part of Peacock (Orange Grove).
Sat. Oct. 30- We dove Madison Blue. Very pretty cave. Found out I was unknowingly over exaggerating the position of my fins & was causing me to stir up silt (will have to work to correct). We swam up the main line about 800 ft. After cleaning up, packing the truck for home & resting we went to a customer appreciation party at one of the big dive shops near Peacock. I won a wind breaker as a door prize (cool!).
Sun. Oct. 31- Kevin & I dropped Larry off at the airport at about 4:30 am. We started for home, driving his truck back up & arrived about 1:30pm.
Just go tmy C-card last week! Now I have my learner’s permit....